Helmsley Charitable Trust Grants More than $26.4M to Fund Nearly 200 Ultrasound Imaging Devices Across Minnesota and Train Sonography Workforce
Minneapolis, March 21, 2023 — The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust has granted nearly $18.3 million to help Minnesota hospitals and health centers purchase nearly 200 ultrasound imaging devices and an additional $8.1 million to boost sonography and point of care ultrasound (POCUS) training opportunities across the state.
Walter Panzirer, a Trustee for the Helmsley Charitable Trust, said the grants will help improve access to exceptional medical treatment for all Minnesotans, whether they live in the heart of Minneapolis or a smaller rural or underserved community.
“Our hospitals and health centers need to stay current with rapidly advancing technology so they can continue to provide top-notch healthcare close to home,” Panzirer said. “These grants help ensure that facilities across Minnesota have the latest and greatest ultrasound equipment and training.”
The grants were announced Tuesday during a news conference at Hennepin Healthcare in Minneapolis, where the basic foundation for what would become known as point of care ultrasound (POCUS) began in the United States.
Ultrasound uses high-frequency sound waves to produce images of structures inside the body. This safe, cost-effective tool supports other clinical information to help providers make timely diagnoses and provide appropriate treatment.
More than half of the 196 devices purchased through the grants (109) are POCUS machines, which are used by providers at the bed or tableside for immediate assessment of a patient to quickly determine a course of action. The grants will also provide 69 general ultrasound systems and 18 cardiovascular ultrasound systems, which aid in imaging of the heart.
“Offering comprehensive care locally is important for rural hospitals across the state of Minnesota,” said Brian Lovdahl, CEO of CCM Health in Montevideo. “Having the latest ultrasound technology available in our communities means we can provide efficient and accurate diagnoses in our hospitals, clinics, and emergency departments. At CCM Health, grant funds will allow us to equip our surgery rooms with endoscopic ultrasound tools that will expand services for patients in our region.”
The initiative also includes more than $8.1 million to train new sonographers, offer continuing education to sonographers and ultrasound technologists, and provide comprehensive POCUS training to doctors, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners. The training grants include more than $917,000 to the Minnesota Rural Health Association to support sonographer training in rural and underserved areas of the state, more than $1 million to the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities to expand St. Cloud Technical & Community College’s sonography program, and nearly $6.2 million to the Minnesota Academy of Family Physicians Foundation which will partner with High Quality Medical Education (HQMEDED) to provide POCUS training across the state.
“These grants are a game changer for rural hospitals across the state,” said Thomas Pahl, PA-C, an emergency department clinician at Glacial Ridge Health System in Glenwood, instructor with HQMEDED, and member of the Minnesota State Trauma Advisory Council. “Clinicians and sonographers will not only have access to the newest ultrasound equipment on the market, but they will also be able to pursue educational opportunities to become more proficient at use of the equipment, expand the studies they can perform, and incorporate these skills into their clinical practices.”